I spent years of research, trekking new trails, scanning fresh shorelines. I marched past enemy lines and lugged my baggage upon bowed shoulders, seeking ultimate answers. I was on a quest to discover. Titles littler my bookshelves: “Find your perfect career”, “Find your self-worth”, and “Discover your purpose”. I swapped hair colors by the week and traded flip flops for heels, testing new personas in efforts to figure out who I was, who I wanted to be, and attempting to capture dreams built on changing winds. I read the magazines: Is he right for you? Find your perfect jeans? Introvert or Extrovert – take our 5 question quiz. I looked outward, collecting seashells of truth in my pockets, fitting pieces together as I waited for the finale image to be revealed. I looked outward to discover myself, scanning the scenery for hints of a well-lived life, clues that would unveil who I was and where I should place my next step. I looked outward for discovery.
I had it all backwards.
The world around me screams with orders: Look this way! Act this way! Carry this purse to ensure happiness! It dictates rules for living that aim to fit us all into the same narrow box of status quo. If I heeded the chaotic tides, I’d take my place in the mass single file line, striped of individuality, an automatic pawn in pursuit of superficial pleasures, gagged to ensure toeing the line.
It’s not about discovering who I am. Rather, it’s a process of uncovering. It’s beginning a different starting block, gathering mindful intentions, and then turning inward. The answers are buried beneath the soot of errands and daily stresses, rusty after years of trying to fit into another’s’ mold.
Uncovering is a solo quest, a return to the ancient knowing that we are all blessed with a G-dly spark, the flame of purity that whispers our answers from the heart of our soul. I had it wrong. There’s no need for treks and distant shores. The horizons to explore necessitate stillness, a sweeping away of fears and hurts, shovels to unearth my core, digging to uncover my self. I am, as we all are, complete right now, holding my answers even when I am unaware of their existence. The jewels I search for are tucked within my history, solutions emanating from a deeper knowing. Joy results from uncovering forgotten laughter and dusting off simple blessings. Meaning shines from a glance backwards to our roots, to our loved ones, to the lands we have traveled and the lessons we have learned. I don’t need to discover who I am. I already know. I simply need to remember and then have the courage to polish it off and hold it up to the sunshine.
It’s easier to explore new destinations and seek absolution by addition: adding new identities along with trinkets, falling prey to ‘more is better’, ‘more equals happiness’ and ‘more is always the goal’. Uncovering your own beauty relies on subtraction. We strip away the expired rules and childhood grudges. We erase the falsities lining our walls and focus our gaze on our inner flame. Uncovering requires quiet patience and a willingness to retrain our eyes, a readjustment to the truth we already know, acceptance of our essential self, and a reconnection with the holiness that flickers within. We are all well schooled in discovering, urged on by the neon lights of a world that never sleeps.
But as we strive to begin anew, to examine our lives, carefully eyeing snags needing repair for the coming year, the answers lie in turning our eyes away from distant shores. The answers lie in uncovering our joy, excavating our soul, exposing our true self and allowing it to seep from our pores. Now is the time to uncover. Now is the time to remember our answers and grasp them with the strength of our soul.